Michael W. Smith Taps Into His Cinematic Side for Glory
When you’ve been making music as long as Michael W. Smith has (for anyone keeping track, it’s been three decades now), nobody would’ve probably blamed him for recording a smattering of Frank Sinatra standards or simply reverting back to what’s worked so well on previous efforts. After all, what’s possibly left to accomplish on your 17th studio project?
For the uninitiated, that just happens to be the place where both Pirates of the Caribbean and The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader were scored and everyone from Andrew Lloyd Webber to Peter Gabriel has set up shop in the past.
“The funny thing is I write instrumental stuff like this all the time and hum the melodies into my iPhone,” Michael says. “But in the past year, I’ve been writing and writing, and before I knew it, I had 30-40 songs for the project. Probably 90 percent of these songs came together in the past year because I kept writing things that I liked even better than what I’d written a year ago.”
While there isn’t a specific event that inspired this rush of creativity, Michael says he’s always enjoyed tapping into a more cinematic side.
What Michael also loves about Glory is that while there’s a specific backstory for every song, everyone listening will probably take something different from the experience. “I felt like the tracks were sad when they needed to be sad, and exuberant when they needed to be exuberant; it’s a very emotional album,” Michael continues. “But the great thing is they will take on new meaning for every listener.”
Artistically speaking, Michael also feels like he tapped into something he wasn’t even sure was there. “Whenever you work on something like this, it’s a huge undertaking. But this was particularly fun because most of these ideas came out of nowhere,” he remembers. “With instrumental music, there aren’t as many parameters. Writing a pop song is hard when you’re marrying melody with lyrics, but the whole instrumental side frees you up to whatever you want. It’s a big difference, and you’re not even confined to only three and a half minutes.”
Naturally, choosing a favorite song from Glory is akin to choosing a favorite of his five children, but there is a moment where he’s created something he’s never done before that always makes him take notice, namely the album’s ninth track, “Joy Follows Suffering.”
“It has a little bit of a Godfather thing going, you know a little bit of that Italian, bittersweet vibe. There’s definitely something a little sad about it that comes from a different artistic place,” Michael says. “I guess what I’m realizing is maybe there are some more wells deep down there creatively—especially when you think you may have tapped into all of them. That is reassuring because maybe I’ve got some more things that need to come out. It’s a mystery that keeps this very fresh and exciting.”
In addition to being available at your favorite place to buy music, songs from Glory will also be featured on Michael W. Smith’s upcoming Christmas tour.
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